Fingermarks found inside the premises were identified and shoe marks from the door were matched to a
pair of trainers belonging to the suspect. The sawn section of the door was presented at court, the
damage and the large number of shoe marks on the door were able to demonstrate the level of force
used to gain entry to the premises. Forensic evidence retained from the crime scene contributed
significantly to the conviction of the accused at the Old Bailey, Central Criminal Court, London for
During the 1980s the number of operational scenes of crime officers was relatively low and consequently
individual workload was high. Certainly in busy inner London areas this resulted in a high level of
autonomy for the individual and involvement in a wide spectrum of crime.
This enabled many officers to quickly build high levels of skill and experience with the ability to deal with
most situations encountered. The development of these skills allowed individual scenes of crime officers
to speak with professional authority both within their interactions with investigating officers and when
presenting evidence at court. Professional integrity and authority enabled scenes of crime officers to
maintain independence within their decision making and to withstand external pressures and influences.
There have been significant changes since the 1980s both in working practices at the crime scene and in
the advancement of forensic science. The introduction and evidential value of DNA, along with an ever
increasing level of sensitivity, reflects the growth in standard operating procedures introduced to control
and regulate crime scene examinations. The development of an improved and structured approach to
supervision, tasking, and working practices was essential to ensure evidential integrity in accordance with
the advancement of forensic science.
Whilst the same principles apply, the retention of blood from a crime scene for grouping purposes in the
1980s can appear almost simplistic when compared to the contamination prevention measurers applied
to the retention of samples for DNA analysis today. The progress made within the field of forensic science
may be reflected through comparison of the evidential limitations of blood grouping procedures that were
relied upon prior to the introduction of DNA.
The one thing that you can guarantee for the future is change and we must adapt accordingly in order to
meet the challenge.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one
most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin.
The full article appeared in CSEye August 2015